By Dean Murray via SWNS
A company is developing a so-called electric Infinity Train that will never need charging.
The vehicle would utilize the downhill gradient of its track to generate enough energy to complete journeys.
The £37m innovation has been announced by Australian mining company Fortescue, who this week completed the acquisition of UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE); a technology and engineering company born out of Williams F1 in 2010.
To mark the purchase at the Oxfordshire site, WAE and Fortescue announced the world's first, zero-emission Infinity Train.
A WAE spokesperson explains: “The regenerating battery-electric iron ore train project will use gravitational energy to recharge its battery-electric systems without any additional charging requirements for the return trip to reload.”
Fortescue’s current rail operations include 54 operating locomotives that haul 16 train sets. The train could be put into use at Fortescue's mines, including at Eliwana, Western Australia.
Fortescue’s green energy, technology and development company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), say: “Each train set is about 2.8 kilometers in length and has the capacity to haul 34,404 tonnes of iron ore in 244 ore cars.
“Fortescue’s rail operations consumed 82 million liters of diesel in financial year 2021 accounting for 11 percent of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.
“This diesel consumption and associated emissions will be eliminated once the Infinity Train is fully implemented across Fortescue’s operations, significantly contributing to Fortescue’s target to be diesel-free by 2030.”
Fortescue’s studies and development costs for the Infinity Train are expected to be US$50 million (£37m) over the next two years and will be classified as operating cost efficiencies, with the studies to refine the capital estimate and schedule.
Fortescue Founder and Chairman, Dr. Andrew Forrest AO, said: “The Infinity Train will not only accelerate Fortescue’s race to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 but also lower our operating costs, create maintenance efficiencies and productivity opportunities.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said: “The Infinity Train has the capacity to be the world’s most efficient battery-electric locomotive.
“The regeneration of electricity on the downhill loaded sections will remove the need for the installation of renewable energy generation and recharging infrastructure, making it a capital-efficient solution for eliminating diesel and emissions from our rail operations.
“The acquisition of WAE is an important step in Fortescue’s transition to a global green energy and resources company.
“The Infinity Train is an important project to be developed together with WAE, as we work to deliver on our target to decarbonize our mining operations by 2030.”
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